The stock exchange hopes the new IT backbone, which has taken nine months to implement, will allow it to boost revenue from its information services division by expanding the number of services it provides and providing financial data in real time.
Increasing the number of revenue streams is key for the London Stock Exchange because trading systems - its traditional business - is a saturated market, said Mathew Wootton, head of product development at the stock exchange. Turnover from information services accounted for more than £50m of the stock exchange's turnover in the first part of this year.
"The market for real-time data is saturated, so expanding the range of information services is a key strategic aim for us," said Wootton. "This will allow us to grow revenue and diversify our information services by, for example, increasing analytical availability."
The new processing engine, based on Windows 2003 Server - which has yet to be officially released - will allow the stock exchange to feed data, such as risk measurements to subscribers in real time. Wootton described this as a "ground-breaking" move.
The processing engine will take live data from the stock exchange's trading system, which runs on HP Himalaya Nonstop servers. It then converts the raw data into what the exchange describes as "value-add messages". These messages are collated in real time and transferred to a datawarehouse from Teradata.
The datawarehouse is built on a four-node Teradata server configured with eight Pentium 4 2.48GHz Xeon processors. It is expected to hold 2.4 Tbytes of information.
Even though Windows 2003 Server is an unproven technology, Wootton believes it will offer greater efficiency than other server software in the market.
Analysts said installing Windows 2003 was not a big gamble for the London Stock Exchange because it does not present a great leap forward from previous versions of Windows in terms of functionality or performance.
"I don't think it is a gamble going to Windows 2003 as software is becoming more reputable now," said Ian Wesley, director of analyst firm Ovum. "It is not a major conceptual leap forward."